Shaman in psychiatric detention for crticizing Putin
Aleksandr Gabyshev is a follower of a traditional local religion in his native Yakutia, and a political activist. After his first attempt to march 8,500 kilometres from Yakutsk to Moscow to “purge” Russian President Vladimir Putin from Kremlin in 2019, Aleksandr Gabyshev has faced multiple instances of harassment and persecution by the authorities. On 19 September 2019, armed and masked law enforcement officials encircled the site near the village of Vydrino, 3,000 kilometres west of Yakutsk, where Aleksandr Gabyshev was camping with his companions. They took away the shaman, without revealing who they were or explaining their actions. He was transferred to Yakutsk and held incommunicado at the Yakut Republican Psychoneurological Dispensary. After he refused to undergo psychiatric examination, he was released but only to be charged with “public calls for extremist activity” (Part 1 of Article 280 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation). Aleksandr Gabyshev was then placed under covert police surveillance.
Meanwhile, some of his supporters have been repeatedly arrested and fined for allegedly committing minor offenses.
The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, to which Russia is a State party, forbids the deprivation of liberty based on the existence of any disability, including mental or intellectual. Furthermore, the Special Rapporteur on torture has said that medical treatment administered in the absence of free and informed consent may amount to torture or other ill-treatment.